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That firefighters are great cooks is a universally acknowledged truth - just look on the shelves of your local bookstore. But are the firefighters of the five boroughs good enough to compete against some of New York City’s hottest chefs?

Gravesend native Steve Asaro (at left), 39, a firefighter at Coney Island’s Engine 318, will be Brooklyn’s representative in Monday’s "Iron Skillet Cook-Off," in which top chefs such as Luis Nieto of Blue Water Grill and Kurt Gutenbrunner of Wallse, compete against these American heroes.

The cook-off is a fundraiser organized by and for September Space, a not-for-profit organization that offers help and support to the volunteers and firefighters of Sept. 11, 2001, as well as their families. There will also be live music and a silent auction.

"We match chefs from high-caliber restaurants and the firefighters’ recipes," said Lisa Orloff, founder and executive director of September Space. Asaro will prepare his stuffed pork with cranberry glaze, which Guttenbrunner will emulate; a panel of celebrity judges will decide the winner.

Planning his red-hot, post-cook-off culinary future, Asaro laughed. "I’m aiming for television," he told GO Brooklyn. "Put me between Emeril and Mario on the Food Network."

The second annual "Iron Skillet Cook-Off" takes place Nov. 3 at 7 pm at Metronome, 915 Broadway at 21st Street in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. Tickets are $100 and $150 for VIP tickets, which entitle one to the cocktail hour at 6 pm with the celebrity judges, and are available through September Space either by calling (212) 563-7570 or e-mailing

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